On June 30, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 205 (“AB 205”), which, among various other things, expands the siting jurisdiction of the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) to include non-thermal generating facilities, such as solar and wind projects, with a capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) or more. The CEC’s siting jurisdiction was previously
Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (“OSPR”) issued notice that it proposes to add ten new regulations (sections 830.1 through 830.11 to Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations) to implement statutory changes resulting from Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1197. AB 1197 establishes criteria and a process for the certification of oil spill management teams.
Continue Reading CDFW Proposes New Regulations for Oil Spill Management Team Certification with a September 14 Comment Deadline
A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI International found that reusing oil field produced water that has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health risks. To cope with droughts and water shortages, some farmers in the Cawelo district have…
The California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”), formerly known as the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), is actively working on revising its regulations to better align its regulatory mandates with the new goals of Assembly Bill 1057, which requires CalGEM to focus on protecting public health and the environment, and less on efficient and effective oil and gas production. The scope and extent of these regulatory changes may have far-reaching consequences for the oil and gas industry in California. As part of its pre-rulemaking process, CalGEM is hosting community workshops and accepting public comments regarding its proposed regulatory changes.
I. WHY IS CALGEM HOSTING WORKSHOPS?
While CalGEM’s materials on its pre-rulemaking process do not explain the exact nature or effect of these workshops, CalGEM’s workshops align with its new focus and November 2019 announcement of new oil and gas initiatives. Effective January 1, 2020, Assembly Bill 1057 changed DOGGR’s name to CalGEM and updated CalGEM’s focus from development and production of petroleum resources to transitioning to a low-carbon future and protecting public health, safety and the environment. In addition, last November CalGEM released a series of initiatives targeting certain oil and gas extraction methods, intended to safeguard public health and the environment. The November initiatives include:
- Imposing a moratorium on new oil extraction wells that use high-pressure steam to break oil formations below the ground;
- Announcing new rules for public health and safety protections near oil and gas extraction facilities would be updated and strengthened; and
- Completing an independent audit of CalGEM’s permitting processes for well stimulation and underground injection control and a scientific review of pending well stimulation permits to ensure public health, safety and environmental protections are met prior to approving each permit.
These initiatives are in line with the State of California’s overall climate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. California intends to meet this goal, in part, by decreasing fossil fuel dependence and consumption.
Continue Reading CalGEM’s Public Health Rulemaking Workshops
Nearly two months ago, on November 19, 2019, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) announced a moratorium on approvals of new oil extraction wells that use a high-pressure cyclic steaming process to break apart a geological formation to extract oil.
The announcement did not contain much, if any,…
The Alameda Superior Court recently declared portions of the Warren-Alquist Act unconstitutional in Communities for a Better Environment v. Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (CBE v. Energy Commission). The Court found that California Public Resources Code section 25531(a) and a portion of section 25531(b) ― provisions of the Warren-Alquist Act concerning judicial review ―…
California’s process to challenge thermal power plants will likely be put to the judicial test in the coming years. The California Court of Appeal has granted publication of its recent opinion in Communities for a Better Environment v. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, (Dec. 22, 2017, No. A141299) __Cal.App.5th __, which reverses the trial court’s dismissal of a complaint by environmental groups Communities for a Better Environment and Center for Biological Diversity (collectively “Communities”), challenging the constitutionality of the limited judicial review available for thermal power plant licenses issued in California. You can find our previous post detailing Communities’ complaint here.
In January 2014, the Alameda County Superior Court dismissed Communities’ claims that statutory provisions of California’s power plant siting law, the Warren-Alquist Act, violated article VI, section 10 of the California Constitution. Under this unique facet of the Warren-Alquist Act, any challenge to a decision by the California Energy Commission on a thermal power plant license must be appealed directly to the California Supreme Court. (Cal. Pub. Resources Code, § 25531(a).) The trial court sided with the Energy Commission and the California State Controller, who argued that the case was not grounded in any actual existing controversy among Communities and the Commission, sought an advisory opinion only, and was not ripe for review. The trial court concluded that Communities had failed to meet its burden to show how its complaint could be amended to state a justiciable cause of action, and, thus, it dismissed the matter with prejudice and entered judgment in favor of the Energy Commission and the Controller.Continue Reading Court of Appeal Rules Challenge to Constitutionality of Power Plant Licensing Appeals Process is Ripe for Judicial Review
February 17, 2017 marked the deadline by which legislators had to introduce bills for the first half of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. The Stoel Rives’ Oil & Gas Team has been and will continue to monitor bills throughout the current two-year session and will provide periodic updates as to the status of those bills. Below is the current status and summary of some of the bills Stoel Rives is monitoring.
Please also reference our Renewable + Law post summarizing bills related to energy law here.
AB 55 (Thurmond, D): Refineries: turnarounds
STATUS: Introduced December 5, 2016; referred to Committee on Labor & Employment on January 19, 2017
The California Refinery and Chemical Plant Worker Safety Act of 1990 requires every petroleum refinery employer to submit to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health a full schedule for the following calendar year of planned turnaround every September 15th. The employer is also required, upon the request of the division, to provide the division with specified documentation relating to a planned turnaround within a certain period of time. This bill would require the documents to be provided to the division upon request also include all documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance with the above-described skilled and trained workforce requirements. A violation of the bill’s requirements would be a crime.Continue Reading Oil & Gas Related Bills Introduced in the 2017-2018 Legislative Session
The recent wave of climate change legislation in California also included a new and not particularly well-known law aimed at curbing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions associated with water use. SB 1425 will create a voluntary registry to track the water sector’s energy use and GHG emissions.
According to Senator Pavley, the author of SB 1425, “While some of the water-energy related climate pollution is already covered in the state’s cap-and-trade program (via the electricity generation sector), the state does not currently have a clear accounting of the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with the water system.”
SB 1425 requires CalEPA to oversee the development of a registry for GHG emissions that result from the “water-energy nexus” using the best-available data. Participation in the registry is voluntary and open to water agencies, large water consumers, businesses and others conducting business in the state. SB 1425 provides that entities participating in the registry may qualify for GHG emission reduction incentives.
Continue Reading New Law Takes Aim at GHG Associated with California’s Water Sector
February 19, 2016 was the deadline for lawmakers to introduce legislation to the 2015-2016 California Legislative Session, and the Legislature’s ever-growing appetite for regulating the energy industry in California shows no signs of being satiated anytime soon. More bills than ever proposing to add new regulations on the oil and gas industry have been introduced. Below is a summary of those bills, many of which relate to natural gas storage following the Aliso Canyon natural gas well leak. Stoel Rives is monitoring these bills and will provide updates as the bills move through the legislative process.
AB 1759 (Bonta): Hydrogen fluoride: notice of use: substitution
This bill would require an owner or operator of an oil refinery that uses hydrogen fluoride, hydrofluoric acid, or modified hydrofluoric acid in its operations to send out biannual notices to each business, school, child care facility, library, church, community facility, senior facility, and residence within a 3.5-mile radius of the refinery. The cost of the notice must be paid by the owner or operator of the refinery, and the owner or operator must file a copy of the notice and distribution list with the California Air Resources Board.Continue Reading Status of Oil- and Gas-Related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session
Earlier this week, environmental consultant Susanne Heim of Panorama Environmental and Stoel Rives water lawyer Wes Miliband hosted the second part of the California Water Webinar series about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
In this webinar, Susanne and Wes covered implications of the recently adopted emergency regulations to amend groundwater basin boundaries, as well…